The Equity Release Council
The Equity Release Council is the industry body for the equity release sector. Originally launched in 1991 as Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), it rebranded as the Equity Release Council in 2012.
The Equity Release Council now represents all participants in the equity release market, providing a voice for the sector as well as setting standards and safeguards which reassure and protect consumers.
The Council, which incorporates the Standards Board, continues SHIP’s aims of protecting the customer and works to increase knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.
Find out more about the Equity Release Council here.
You can view their Member Directory here.
As a member of the Council, we adhere to their Statement of Principles and Product Standards.
The key consumer protection measures provided by the Council are:
- For lifetime mortgages, interest rates must be fixed or, if they are variable, there must be a “cap” (upper limit) which is fixed for the life of the loan.
- The client must have the right to remain in their property for life or until they need to move into long-term care, provided the property remains their main residence and they abide by the terms and conditions of their contract.
- The client has the right to move to another property subject to the new property being acceptable to the product provider as continuing security for their equity release loan.
- The product must have a “no negative equity guarantee”. This means that when the property is sold, and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to the provider, neither the client nor their estate will be liable to pay any more.
- The client must seek independent legal advice.
- A clear, simple and complete presentation and explanation of the equity release plan must be provided. The benefits and limitations of the plan will be clearly set out, together with any obligations under the terms of the contract.